|This article, Beta Company Chronicles: Operation GUNSLINGER, was written by Rangerkid51. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|This article, Beta Company Chronicles: Operation GUNSLINGER, is currently under active construction.|
|Beta Company Chronicles: Operation GUNSLINGER|
|The exploits of Beta Company have long been kept a secret....until now.|
|Date Published||February 2, 2011|
|Next Story||The Olympia Campaign, Part One|
This story is part of the Beta Company Chronicles series.
[ONI AUDIO LOG X-097A]
///LOGGING IN USER: VADM (0-0) MIKE OSCAR PAPA///
AUTHORIZATION CODE: TIMBERWOLF
RORSCHACH: YOU RANG, MA'AM?
PAPA: YES, COLONEL. ITS TIME TO SEND THE BETA-THREE'S OUT. THEY'RE READY.
RORSCHACH: YOU SURE?
PAPA: HELL YES, COLONEL. THEY'RE WAR MACHINES.
RORSCHACH: AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON. ONLY MOMEMTS AGO THE ARCADIA GOVERNOR CONTACTED ME. APPARENTLY ALL OF THEIR COM FREQUENCIES HAVE BEEN JAMMED. SOUND LIKE THE COVENANT ARE PLANNING THEIR INVASION EARLY.
PAPA: I AGREE.
RORSCHACH: GET THOSE 300 BETA-THREE'S READY AND ONBOARD THE WALLS OF JERICHO AS SOON AS ITS CONVENIENT. WE GOTTA GET GUNSLINGER UNDERWAY.
PAPA: ACTUALLY, ITS 299. THERE'S ONE OF THEM, SPARTAN-B312, WHO, WE'VE NOTICED, THAT HAS HAD THE "HYPER-LETHAL" CLASSIFICATION IN SEVERAL AFTER ACTION TRAINING REPORTS. BOTH MENDEZ and AMBROSE HAVE STATED AS SUCH.
RORSCHACH: OH REALLY?
PAPA: AFFIRMATIVE. ONI WANTS HIM IN AN ASSASSIN'S ROLE. BLACK OPS AND SPEC OPS, ONE-MAN SUICIDE MISSIONS.
PAPA: WE ALSO WANTED SPARTAN-B320, BUT SHE APPARENTLY NEEDS A LITTLE MORE SEASONING, SO TO SPEAK.
RORSCHACH: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, MA'AM. NOW LETS GET THOSE BETA-THREE'S DEPLOYED. WE'VE GOT A PLANET TO SAVE.
[ONI PRIORITY TRANSMISSION KG-974F]
///LOGGING IN USER: CODENAME: RORSCHACH///
AUTHORIZATION CODE: TIMBERWOLF
THE VICE ADMIRAL CONTACTED ME JUST NOW, JUST LIKE YOU SAID, CHIEF. SHE MENTIONED THAT SHE WANTED TO PULL B312 OUT. NOW I'VE SEEN WHAT THIS KID CAN DO, SO I'M GOING TO AGREE WITH YOU AND AMBROSE AND SAY THAT WE WON'T PULL HIM OUT...YET. I KNOW I'M DISOBEYING DIRECT ORDERS TO DO THIS, BUT I'VE GOT A FEELING THAT HUMANITY NEEDS 300 BETA-THREES MORE THAN ONI NEEDS JUST ONE.
WE'LL NEED TO DO ALOT OF COVERING-UP, THOUGH. OUR BEST OPTION IS TO USE AN ENHANCED FLASH-CLONE OF SPARTAN-B312. THEY'VE BEEN OBSERVING HIM AS MUCH AS WE HAVE, SO THEY GOT ALL HIS STATS, SO THEY'LL KNOW SOMETHING IS UP, BUT FOR OUR PURPOSES, IT SHOULD WORK.
NOW DON'T FAIL ME AND ACKERSON, CHIEF. A LOT IS COUNTING ON YOU AND AMBROSE'S MEN AND WOMEN, HERE, ESPECIALLY WITH GUNSLINGER ABOUT TO GO UNDERWAY. I'VE PULLED QUITE A FEW STRINGS TO ALLOW YOU TO KEEP YOUR SOLDIER. DON'T LET ME DOWN. WE HAVE A WAR TO WIN.
Aboard UNSC Avenger-Class Heavy Destroyer Walls of Jericho, in orbit above Unnamed Moon of Arcadia, Procyon System
SPARTAN-B312, Ben, braced himself. This was it: Beta Company's first mission. He wasn't going to lie to himself and say that he wasn't nervous.
Ben, along with the 299 other fighting members of Beta Company were all currently in the main hanger bay of the Avenger-class destroyer Walls of Jericho, which sat in geosynchronous orbit above one of the moons of Arcadia. The reason they were there? Simple: Beta Company's first mission - Operation: GUNSLINGER.
Ben reviewed GUNSLINGER in his head one more time: Arcadia was a prominent Outer Colony world that had come under attack by the Covenant before, not long after the end of the Harvest Campaign sometime in 2531. This time, however, the Covenant had gone in, unnoticed, and built up a large fortress on one of its moons. ONI Intelligence also learned that the fortress was a heavily fortified armory as well. Rescently, the Covenant began using the moon and fortress as a staging area for launching attacks on the planet. The attacks started out small, nothing that the Arcadia Militia couldn't handle, but gradually grew larger. Combined with the presence of the fortress so close, these attacks could mean nothing more than an oncoming all-out assault on Arcadia. Arcadia had requested a special forces unit to combat and subdue this threat, so the SPARTAN-III's of Beta Company had been called. They needed to destroy that fortress before it caused any more major problems.
Lost in his thoughts, Ben didn't hear footsteps enter the hanger bay. Ben looked towards the double-doors sealing off the hanger from the rest of this ship. Walking towards him now was Colonel Peter Longstreet, who was Colonel James Ackerson's right hand man in charge of the Beta-5 Division of Section 3, and their mission commander for GUNSLINGER.
"Spartans!" the Colonel's voice boomed. "Attention!"
300 SPARTAN-III's rushed to form ranks in front of Longstreet.
"At ease." he ordered, and most of them relaxed.
"This is it, Beta Company. All your training has lead to this moment: Operation: GUNSLNGER. Down on that moon is a Covenant Fortress that is preparing to glass Arcadia to kingdom come. That fortress needs to be destroyed at all costs. Failure is not an option. Now do I make myself clear?" Ben heard someone shout "Crystal, sir!" and everyone else agreed. "Good. Now get with your fire teams, get to the pods, and give those split-chinned freaks all the hell you can muster." The Spartans cheered, and Ben cheered with them. He felt a rush of adrenaline: he was ready for anything the Covenant threw at them down there.
In the depths of the Walls of Jericho was the SOEIV bay. Ben waited here for his team, Fire Team India. Ben was the leader of India, and he considered them, not just squadmates, but his best friends. He had done everything in the near four years that they'd been in India together to prepare them for battles like this. He just hoped it was enough.
Ben briefly wondered if this was how Lieutenant Commander Ambrose and Chief Mendez felt with all of Beta Company.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a Spartan walk towards him. He turned to face the Spartan; it walked up to him and placed a hand on his soldier. IFF Tag identified him as SPARTAN-B247 of Fire Team Charlie.
"Well, hello, Leon." Ben said to the Spartan.
Leon-B247 was Ben's biological younger brother. They had been conscripted into Beta Company together in 2537, along with their other brother, Kenneth, and their sister, Claire. Ben was closer to Leon than he was to Kenneth or Claire, because Leon was only two years younger than Ben. Kenneth was three years younger, and Claire four. They'd become closer ever since they became Spartans.
"So," Leon began, "this is it."
Ben nodded. "Yeah. Nerve-wracking, ain't it?"
Leon replied "Yeah." Leon looked around, cleared his throat, then took off his helmet. Unlike Ben, who was blonde, Leon's hair was dark brown, but due to protocols, there was hardly any of it left: Leon had a near-bald buzzcut.
"Look," Leon continued, "I know we aren't in the same Fire Team, but we've had each other's backs ever since the Orphanage. You need me, Team Charlie, or even Ken or Claire, just call."
Ben took off his helmet too. A big smile spread over his face. "You know it." They slapped each other a high five.
Slowly, more Spartans began drifting into the SOEIV Bay. Ben immediately recognized Leon's teammates: Jonah-B222, Felipe-B230, Edward-B062, and Miranda-B187. Leon put his hemlet back on and joined his team in finding an SOEIV.
Ben leaned against the wall, waiting for his team to arrive. More and more Spartans slowly wandered in, finding pods, and waiting for Colonel Longstreet's order to go.
Ben heard his COM ping. He turned around. Four Spartans faced him. The two nearest Spartans, slightly taller than he, were, according to his IFF transponder, identified as SPARTANSs -B217 and -B198. Jacob, India's sniper, and Damián, who pulled double duty, serving both as India's assault specialist and heavy weapons specialist. Standing behind the two guys was a slightly shorter Spartan that IFF identified as SPARTAN-B307. That was Mikayla, their stealth operator.
And standing apart from the others was SPARTAN-B320. That was Kat, his right hand in charge of India, and their intelligance specialist.
Kat was a technical genius. In Ben's opinion, her ability to acquire and digest information was borderline supernatural; more than once, she had been able to read a situation, working with information many would find overly limited. So that was why Ben made her Team India's intel specialist.
"So...we ready, chief?" asked Jacob.
"I dunno....are you guys ready?" Ben asked his team.
"Well, I sure as hell am." replied Kat excitedly. "Its about time we gave those Covenant bastards whats comin' to them."
Ben smiled. "I was hoping you'd say that Kat." Ben turned back to the team. "All right then, India, lock and load, and find a drop pod." Ben paused a moment before resuming talking. "And set internal temp in your suits to cold.....cuz right now, there's Hell down there, and we're gonna go through hellfire and brimstone, and we're not coming back until that fortress is reduced to rubble. Now let's give 'em Hell."
"With pleasure." Kat replied, and then Damián shouted,"Olé!", and pumped his fist into the air.
Damián always liked to flaunt his Hispanic heritage whenever he could. Sometimes it was annoying, but now, on the brink of their first battle against the Covenant, it just got his adrenaline pumping even harder.
"Attention Beta Company," Colonel Longstreet's voice boomed over the Walls of Jericho's PA system. "Operation: GUNSLINGER will commence in 10 minutes. Please enter your drop pods at this time."
"See you planetside, guys." Ben nodded, fist-bumping all of them. Then they departed to find pods.
Ben found an empty one nearby and slid himself into it. It was kinda cramped; the SOEIV was built to hold an ODST in slim BSU's, not a SPARTAN-III in bulky SPI Armor.
But it didn't matter, he told himself. All that mattered was that they were 10 minutes from launching headfirst into their first engagement with the enemy. Ben steeled himself.
This is it. he thought to himself fot maybe the hundredth time. Dad, Mom....if you are out there....this one is for you.....
1 mile outside the Covenant Fortress of Doubt
Unnamed Moon of Arcadia
Several lone Kig-Yar scouts stood, eyes, and rifles, on the sky.